Solving the Climate Crisis in Cities

One of the most important tasks of our time is to stop climate change. Achieving it requires action, especially in large cities. We dream of a Helsinki that is a model for a green, climate friendly, and low emission European city. A capital that leads the way as the energy revolution moves forward around the world.

Helsinki has achieved a lot thanks to the Greens. The city is taking its first step towards being coal free by shutting down the Hanasaari coal plant. The Helsinki climate roadmap shows how to make the city carbon neutral and adapted to climate change.

Our goals going forward:

  • Setting ambitious climate goals for the years 2030 and 2040. Helsinki will be energy efficient and a significant amount of its energy will be derived from solar, wind and geothermal sources by 2025.
  • Shutting down the Salmisaari coal plant. The city must give up coal as an energy source by 2030 at the latest.
  • Finding cleaner alternatives for the city’s power company Helen’s other fossil fuel based energy production.
  • Building more green roofs and solar panels on the city’s rooftops. Making Helen a pioneer in distributed energy purchasing. Encouraging people, housing companies and businesses to microgeneration and improving their energy efficiency.
  • Reducing emissions from traffic by increasing complementary construction, developing infrastructure to promote walking and cycling, and by supporting public transportation and other low emission modes of travel.
  • Increasing the amount of vegetarian and seasonal options in public food service. Reducing food waste by distributing excess school lunches for free or at a low price.
  • Investing in low emission and sustainable acquisitions in the city’s public purchases.

Protecting the Nature in Helsinki

Helsinki is known for its forests and shores. The greenways running through the city guarantee that wherever you are, you are not far from nature. The nature and forests nearby are valuable not only as recreational areas, but in and of themselves. In addition to people, Helsinki is home to several endangered species of plants and animals.

We have done a lot of work for nature preservation. The forest network that will be founded for Helsinki will keep the forests of Helsinki safe. A far-reaching nature preservation programme will provide comprehensive research on valuable natural areas, the most important of which will be classified as nature reserves. Kivinokka has been spared from building, and the Greens are also opposed to building on Vartiosaari. Planning for a National City Park has been started.

Our goals going forward:

  • Founding a National City Park to secure Helsinki’s forests and archipelago. Taking care of our city’s greenways and their connection to the circle of green around the greater Helsinki area.
  • Securing the Central Park’s unique nature in town planning. Making sure that turning Hämeenlinnanväylä into a boulevard does not interfere with the Central Park
  • Drafting a more comprehensive nature report that takes the diversity of natural areas into account in more detail.
  • Guaranteeing that everyone living in Helsinki has access to a forest near them.
  • Promoting the development of Vartiosaari as a recreational area instead of building on it – despite the new component master plan (osayleiskaava).
  • Taking care of the diversity of nature by leaving more forests untouched and by favouring meadows instead of lawns. Making natural diversity part of town planning.
  • Re-enforcing the internationally valuable bird sanctuary on Vanhankaupunginlahti by keeping the fields and forests close to it in as natural a state as possible.
  • Repairing water areas in the city. Improving the chances of fish to rise upstream to breed in brooks and Vantaanjoki, while taking culturohistorical values into consideration.
  • Advocating tighter norms and better international cooperation to remedy the condition of the Baltic Sea.

Taking Good Care of our Children

Investing in early childhood education and care is investing in our future. Every child has a right to high quality care and education, which supports their growth, development and ability to learn. It gives every child the chance to do well and their parents the chance to work without needing to worry.

In Helsinki, the Greens have succeeded in their fight for equal, good care for children. In the future, every child will still be able to attend daycare and maximum group sizes will not increase. Even the giant increases in daycare fees were prevented. The possibility of free early childhood education and care is being reviewed thanks to a motion by the Greens.

Our goals going forward:

  • Offering all children early childhood education and care free of charge.
  • Holding on to the subjective right to daycare, which means every family’s right to early childhood education and care.
  • Keeping group sizes in daycare small. Making sure that there is enough staff in relation to the amount of children.
  • Furthering the chances of finding daycare and school for children near home.
  • Making sure that there is adequate space. Daycare facilities must not be designed too cramped.
  • Increasing of language immersion and foreign language clubs in early childhood education and care. The age when it is possible to learn a new language naturally through play is worth making use of.
  • Developing the facilities and activities of the city’s playgrounds.
  • Guaranteeing access to a psychologist at daycare as well as schools: focusing on wellbeing and preventing issues is at least as important in a daycare community as it is in schools.
  • Designing school and daycare environments to promote physical activity.

Improving the Quality of Education

Our goal is for Finland to have the most equal education system and the most capable people in the world. Education and scholarship are our strengths. That is why we want to make our schools modern, equal, and fun, so that every child can find their enthusiasm to learn, feel well, and be supported in forming their own way of learning.

In Helsinki, we have invested in preventing both alienation and social divergence of urban areas. We have made an effort to ensure that no matter where they live, every pupil has a chance to receive high quality teaching in a comfortable learning environment. Investing in education is investing in our future – it must be taken care of on all levels of education.

Our goals going forward:

  • Guaranteeing a good learning environment in all schools in Helsinki. Doing more to prevent social inequality so that every school provides an equal opportunity to learn.
  • Drafting an ambitious repair programme for schools, daycare centers, and playgrounds. Rotting schools are not the place for our children
  • Guaranteeing access to after school activities for all students on first and second grades.
  • Making sure that every pupil’s journey to school is safe. Every child should be able to ride their bike to school safely.
  • Making school the place for learning the skills of the future. Investing in sensible digitalization in teaching, and updating the ways of learning to meet the requirements of the future. Making use of Helsinki’s unique learning environments such as museums, libraries and nature.
  • Focusing on an early start in learning a foreign language and on diverse language teaching teams.
  • Safeguarding every child’s chance to have a hobby, regardless of their family’s financial situation. Developing and making more widely available opportunities for free, low-threshold hobbies for children and youth in cooperation with, among others, sports clubs.
  • Making funds for preventing social divergence available to vocational schools as well as general upper secondary schools.
  • Investing in personal support for students in vocational education. Actively supporting students in completing their education.
  • Making sure there is enough contact teaching in vocational education.
  • Actively working to prevent and end bullying in schools.

Guaranteeing Quality of Care for Everyone

In Helsinki, social and health services are being renewed and brought under the same roof. Greens stress the importance of the availability of services and lowering the threshold to seek help. Funding for maternity and child health clinics and preventive child protection has already been improved. Versatile service centers serve especially the aging population segment. Health center fees were abolished, and huge increases in patient fees were prevented.

There are a lot of open questions related to the coming, nationwide health and social services reform. Even in the middle of these changes, Helsinki needs to take care of the welfare of its inhabitants: the health and welfare gap needs to be narrowed in the future as well.

Our goals going forward:

  • Investing in preventing problems before they occur: supporting outreach social and youth work in order to reach those least well off. Supporting social and health organisations that provide low-threshold preventive mental health, elderly care, and sports and rehabilitation services and services to prevent youth alienation.
  • Providing birth control free of charge for those under 25 years of age.
  • Making sure that city employees have the necessary skills to face also those who belong to sexual or gender minorities. Increasing employees’ awareness through education.
  • Making sure that those with mental health or substance abuse issues can receive care quickly and easily.
  • Paying special attention to health care opportunities for those who have just become unemployed or dropped out of education.
  • Improving social and health services on their users’ conditions. Following up on and improving the effectiveness of services.
  • Taking care of high quality services for the elderly. The goal is for people to live at home or in a home-like environment for as long as possible. To achieve this, home care and care allowance, and many kinds of communal and group based services for the elderly in Helsinki, will be developed.
  • Building together a memory-friendly city.
  • Promoting mutually compatible technical and digital solutions for use in social and health services.
  • Physical exercise is the most efficient way to prevent health problems. Cooperation between sports, social and healthcare services needs to be developed, so that the elderly and those belonging to risk groups are actively offered health promoting sports and exercise services.

Creating Sustainable Economy

We want a Helsinki that looks ahead – a city that generates attraction, growth and jobs while respecting the environment. It is more important to maintain a Helsinki that is capable of producing growth to cover debt, than to worry about debt itself. That means quality public services, functional urban structure and developing Helsinki into a gem of a travel experience in Northern Europe.

For the past years Helsinki has pursued a responsible financial policy: the city has not acquired too much debt. We are not forced to cut back on services; we can afford to make choices.

Our goals going forward:

  • Shifting the focus of taxation away from personal taxation and more towards real estate tax.
  • Making sure that despite the health and social services reform, the municipal tax in Helsinki will be sufficient to guarantee services important to its inhabitants.
  • Let us not cripple entrepreneurs with unnecessary bureaucracy. Let us offer several different operators a chance on the market.
  • Making participation in bidding processes easy for smaller enterprises by dividing projects and demanding more openness, for example.
  • Making Helsinki a breeding ground for international enterprise: supporting the structures of creative economy, start ups, business incubators and accelerators. Let us not be afraid of innovations.
  • Focusing on circular economy: it helps achieve more with less.
  • Promoting a culture of experimentation in Helsinki. Digitalising services offered by the city, and enabling doing business by making use of the city’s existing infrastructure.
  • The city must make it possible for people to work regardless of their differing circumstances. Supporting the employment of those who are partially unable to work via different and better paid work try-outs.
  • Offering youth more summer jobs and supporting them in finding employment.
  • Taking into account ethical factors in public procurement.

Building More Affordable Homes

A home is a human right. The high and ever rising price of housing is one of the greatest factors causing poverty and homelessness in Helsinki. The rise of the cost of living is controlled, and the lack of housing remedied best by building more homes. Our children must also have a chance to live in Helsinki.

The work for remedying the lack of housing continues. In the past years, Helsinki has reached its goal in planning for new residential plots for the first time in a long while. In a city of high rents suffering from lack of housing this is a significant change for the better. It must be reached in the coming years as well. As the city grows, we must see to it that new sports and hobby facilities are also built for new residents.

Our goals going forward:

  • Building 10 000 apartments a year to ease lack of housing and the rise of prices in the housing market. Increasing the city’s own housing production and the building of student and youth apartments.
  • More compact building. Wider building uses up more land, compact building spares green areas. Let us make complementary building easier.
  • Turning motorways and highways entering Helsinki into city boulevards, and building houses along them – taking into consideration valuable green areas.
  • No income limitations for assisted living. They increase the social divergence of areas and cause welfare traps.
  • Giving up the parking space norm that pushes up apartment prices. The need for parking spaces can be defined on a case by case basis.
  • Building accessibly. Accessibility benefits the disabled as well as those pushing a pram or moving with the assistance of a walking aid.
  • Making it easier to produce group based building projects, where people design the kind of apartment building they want, keeping the price point reasonable.
  • Building homes that allow for communal living as well. Communal living suits many different life stages, not just youth.
  • Making sure that there is not too much social divergence between areas by guaranteeing good services regardless of where you live. When building new areas, we must make sure that adequate services are brought to the area together with new housing.
  • Encouraging the owners of planned plots to build by increasing real estate tax for unbuilt plots.
  • Trying out temporary use of spaces planned for other than residential use (empty office buildings, for example) as apartment space.

Promoting Ecological Transportation

In the past few years there has been a change in Helsinki: there are no more dreams of city motorways costing hundreds of millions, or of a tunnel for traffic under the city center. Instead, the city has invested in a comfortable walking environment, cycling and public transportation.

The Greens have achieved a lot to promote easy transportation within Helsinki: bicycle lanes will be built on Hämeentie and city bikes make it easier to get around. Baana leads you swiftly from the center westwards. Raide-Jokeri makes travelling in an east-west direction easier, and city boulevards make former motorways more agreeable. Living and getting around in Helsinki must be easy also for those who do not own a car or are unable to drive one.

Our goals going forward:

  • Keeping ticket prices reasonable. Everyone needs to be able to afford transportation in Helsinki. Let us not shift the costs of new investments in public transportation onto its users.
  • Building a light rail network. For example, the Science Tram would bring institutions of higher education together along a single rail route, and would improve cross traffic.
  • Improving the cycling lanes. Expanding bicycle lanes, covering bicycle parking spaces and separating bicycle lanes from pedestrian lanes.
  • Investing in making cycling easy everywhere in the city.
  • Building a car-free city center and expanding the walkways in suburban centers. Focusing on making walking easy everywhere in the city.
  • Implementing congestion charges. In addition to preventing traffic jams, they can be used to fund better public transportation.
  • Instead of building obsolete solutions such as the city center tunnel, we will be trying out automated buses, and investing in environmentally friendly public transportation projects of the future.
  • Including 17-year-olds in the age bracket for a child’s discount fare. So far, 17-year-olds have not been entitled to a children’s ticket, or a student ticket discount.
  • Improving accessibility in public transport. For example, all new trams must be easily accessible with a wheelchair.
  • Guaranteeing adequate and functional transportation services for the disabled. Everyone has the right to get around in Helsinki.

Making Helsinki More Equal

The Greens are a feminist party. We want a city that is equal, where no one is discriminated against, and where diversity is taken into account everywhere. A city, where everyone has a chance to do well and blossom. The value of a society is measured by how it treats those in a vulnerable position. Helsinki must not become divided into a city of breadlines and a city of the successful – this is a development that needs to be stopped.

We have achieved wonderful things: Helsinki decided to offer emergency housing to all who do not have a place to sleep in subzero weather. We managed to pass our motion on preventing inequality and the issue is currently being reviewed. During the City Council’s previous term we secured the right to healthcare for paperless children and pregnant women. We want a city that offers help and possibilities for everyone.

Our goals going forward:

  • All forms of discrimination and racism must be weeded out of our everyday lives. Let us make sure that the city as an employer hires people from different ethnic and language minorities, leads the way in non-discrimination and visibly opposes racism.
  • Guaranteeing non-urgent healthcare for all paperless individuals.
  • Eradicating homelessness. Offering a home instead of a place in an institution, and services to help get one’s life back on track.
  • Guaranteeing emergency housing for everyone. No one is to be left outside in subzero temperatures for the night.
  • Making comprehensive gender impact and equality assessments regarding the City Council’s decisions already when they are in the planning stage.
  • Taking care that the city’s services respect people’s gender identities. For example, forms should always have other options to choose besides male and female.
  • Guaranteeing that Helsinki has an adequate amount of women’s shelters, and that also men and their children are admitted.
  • Making use of anonymous recruiting processes and diversifying Helsinki’s HR policy.
  • Making sure that Helsinki is an accessible city. Accessibility needs to be considered both in building and public transport and all digital services must take into account those with disabilities.
  • Making it possible for city employees to work a shorter week or shorter days. This would promote parents’ ability to work, the sharing of work and employees’ well-being at work.

Supporting a Vibrant Urban Culture.

Culture is an important part of a living and attractive city. The response to people’s ideas should mostly be “yes”, because interesting events bring colour to the cityscape and promote the residents’ wellbeing. Lively city culture also creates opportunities for businesses in the service industry, such as restaurants and cafés.

City culture originated by the people is flourishing in Helsinki. The Central Library and Dance House Helsinki are being built. A high quality network of local libraries will serve people alongside the Central Library. Thanks to a motion by the Greens, Helsinki has begun a “parklet” try out, in which small businesses can use parking space in front of their facades for something other than parking – setting tables outside, for example.

Our goals going forward:

  • Working together to create a Helsinki where district events, food stalls and pop up shops flourish. Creating ease into event organizing instead of unnecessary bureaucracy.
  • City space belongs to people of all ages. Let us produce services in the culture sector on the basis that those over 50 can go paint graffiti, and the young can go to the opera.
  • The place for cultural events is all over Helsinki: They should not be limited to the city center.
  • Open public space is part of a living city – there must be places where people can spend time without having to purchase anything.
  • Developing funding systems for culture to support the ideas of residents and new ideas by established artists, as well as the traditional operators in the field of culture.
  • Expanding experimentation on the opening hours of libraries and developing their status as centers for culture, while keeping in mind their basic function as a place to borrow books.
  • Preserving the culture hub of Suvilahti and renovating the gas holders for use as spaces for culture events.
  • There needs to be more flexibility in the use of city property – it makes no sense to keep city owned spaces empty. Let us increase temporary use of different spaces. Spaces designated for culture and spaces designated for sports could be integrated more innovatively than has been done so far.
  • Public art belongs everywhere in the city. Respecting artworks means keeping them intact and well looked after.
  • Increasing allowances for art. A full survey of art and cultural policy will be conducted, aimed at developing the cultural scene in Helsinki, and better enabling activity at the grassroots level. Based on the survey, a plan and a budget for the use of the seafront plot at Eteläranta will be produced.

Making Helsinki a Home for Everyone

We want Helsinki to be a city where everyone is welcome: racism has no place here. Here every immigrant – adult, elderly or child – can find something meaningful to do, as well as safe spaces to meet new people and function as a member of the society. Municipal services are easily found even for those who speak a foreign language. Every immigrant in need of support and advice can easily find help with questions relating to health, employment, hobbies and education.

Helsinki has already invested a great deal in the receiving and social integration of those who have come here. The amount of reception centers has been increased. A skill center for adult immigrants was founded, offering rehabilitation, education and employment services, all under the same roof.

Our goals going forward:

  • Focusing on giving out information on services in as many languages as possible, in addition to Finnish and Swedish. Both electronic services and information will be available for the largest language groups in their own languages.
  • Improving the availability of information to immigrants on services and employment opportunities, even to applicants awaiting a decision on their residence permit: the application process can take over a year.
  • Promoting access to homestay and developing support services for those offering homestay and those looking for one. The most efficient way for asylum seekers to learn the local language and integrate is to live in a homestay instead of a reception center.
  • Guaranteeing access to a Finnish language course, regardless of whether you are unemployed, a stay at home mom or an international student.
  • Supporting schools with a large number of children with a foreign language as their mother tongue. Resources are required for the whole family’s social integration and increasing the parents’ sense of involvement. In upper secondary education, special attention must be paid to developing a multicultural school environment.
  • Developing new ways to use sports and hobbies as a means of social integration and language learning. Mutual hobbies are a natural way of forming relationships between locals and new arrivals.

Promoting Transparency and Democracy

The city exists for its inhabitants. The Greens want a Helsinki where people do not use power only every four years at the voting stations. We want people to be actively informed about decision making, and given opportunities to participate in generating ideas and developing the city.

This spring, Helsinki will be moving towards a more open and dialogue-oriented direction, thanks to the mayoral model actively promoted by the Greens. It will make decision making more open, democratic and clear. Political appointments to office will be given up, bureaucracy cut down, and decision making processes streamlined.

Our goals going forward:

  • Publishing invoices from public procurement processes as open data.
  • Increasing the opportunities for service users, experts by experience, and locals to participate in all decision making in Helsinki.
  • Increasing online participation and local hearings. Hearings should preferably be conducted at places where people already are.
  • Obligating city-owned companies to follow open practices. Type of business must not be used as basis for covering things up: what happened with Länsimetro must not happen again.
  • Developing youth participation: giving representatives from youth participation system Ruuti the right to be present and heard in city board, committee and City Council meetings.
  • Bringing in residents and customers to decide on the use of finances through participatory budgeting.
  • Information and data produced by the city, such as statistics and maps, should be easily available to all. Let us make Helsinki an even more active advocate of open data, open source software and open API.
  • Raising awareness of municipal initiatives. Making sure that all initiatives are processed equally and thoroughly.